Saturday, December 11, 2010

Vegan white pizza

EDIT: We found a much better ricotta substitute -- make this instead!

So this was kind of an experiment: spinach, mushroom, and tofu ricotta pizza (with walnuts). I'd like to claim some kind of high-minded, ethical reason for cutting out most dairy from my diet, but the truth is I've just gotten kind of sensitive to it in my old age (though it doesn't bother me a bit not to be contributing to the dairy/cattle/veal industry either). I won't lie to you, Fellini's white pizza it was not (that is kind of a high bar to compare oneself to though). And it took a couple of bites to get over the cognitive dissonance -- the tofu looks an awful lot like ricotta without actually tasting that much like ricotta -- but once I did I really rather liked it. The walnuts were Kristen's idea and were a brilliant addition ... a textural contrast with the softness of the tofu or whatever.

I made Mark Bittman's pizza dough recipe (previously, with 2 cups bread flour + 1 cup wheat flour this time), and Isa's tofu ricotta, below. Pop it into a 500 degree oven for about 9 minutes.

PPK Tofu Ricotta
14oz package extra firm tofu
1 clove garlic minced
2 tsp lemon juice
two heavy pinches salt
pinch of black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Slice the tofu and squeeze out as much of the moisture as you can (within reason). Put it in a bowl with the garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and smash it with your hands for a few minutes, until it's the texture of ricotta. Add the olive oil and nutch and stir with a fork.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Upper West Side Lentil Salad

A lot of times, deciding what we want for dinner is a matter of asking, "What kind of lentils should we make tonight?" This particular dish was inspired by the French lentil salad I had at Alice's Tea Cup on my recent trip to New York (my annual visit to the fabulous J. of custard fame). It was a perfect day: we toured the natural history museum in the morning (where I got the best souvenir -- a pressed penny with the whale from The Squid & the Whale) and then fawned over tea, scones, and lentil salad in the pink and purple wonderland of Alice's for most of the afternoon.

To recreate the experience, I used this super basic recipe from Saveur as a guide, adding dainty pieces of broccoli and carrot for nutrition and prettiness. I'd recommend serving the lentils warm, on top of a bed of mixed greens. We ate this as a small meal but it would work really well as a side dish... and would serve a whole ton of people. Tea party, anyone?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving recap

After a travel-filled year, Kristen and I decided to take it super easy over Thanksgiving, fix a smallish meal at home and then spend a couple of days in the snow-capped Southern California mountains (<-- still weird).

At the last minute, we ditched our idea for a tofu-sweet potato "loaf" (mercifully, most likely) and split the ingredients up into a black bean-sweet potato salad with fried sage adapted from Steve Sando's cookbook and Roasted Rosemary Tofu from the always excellent Vegan Soul Kitchen.

I made another batch of Creamless Cream Corn which has been on my mind semi-daily for a year, and to go with our mashed potatoes, Kristen whipped up a batch of Isa's Savory Mushroom Gravy, which totally stole the show... But isn't that always the way with gravy? Yum, it was good.

And we had a really nice time in Idyllwild. The weather was clear and beautiful but sooo chilly! Dinner at the Mountain was kind of amazing...possibly the best piece of salmon I've ever had (I'm an occasional pescetarian in case that's confusing). And if you didn't believe me about snowy SoCal, here're some pictures!